UnityPoint at Home is moving

Service will relocate to former Hy-Vee Drugstore site

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen UnityPoint at Home executive director Jennifer Crimmins, at right, along with Jensen Builders project manager Taylor Pedersen, look over plans for the new retail store in the former HyVee Drugstore building. Homecare clinical manager Julie Samuelson, at left, Homecare clinical supervisor Jen Kirchhoff, warehouse supervisor Doris McBurney, regional store manager Angie Tracy and store unit supervisor Mike Hanrahn, at right, look over the cite behind them.

UnityPoint at Home in Fort Dodge, which is gaining a national reputation as one of the state’s top home care agencies, is on the move both physically and as a provider of top quality care.

Before the end of this year, it will move most of its services to a new consolidated location at 214 S. 24th St., just a short distance north of the city’s booming Corridor of Commerce. This new 12,000-square-foot base of operations for the agency is the building previously occupied by Hy-Vee Drugstore. Fort Dodge’s Jensen Builders is renovating the space.

The move will allow the local outlet of UnityPoint at Home to base many of its services at a single site.

“We’ve been looking for several years for a place to relocate and consolidate all of our service lines into one location – home care, hospice and home medical equipment,” said Jennifer Crimmins, executive director of operations/post acute strategy for UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge.

Crimmins said this arrangement will benefit both her 85-person team and the community.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen UnityPoint at Home executive director Jennifer Crimmins, right, gets a little help from Jensen Builders project manager Taylor Pedersen to put an opening soon sign in the window of their new store in the former HyVee Drugstore building. Angie Tracy, regional store manager, holds another sign at the ready at left.

“I think it will be easier for patients and families who have questions about home care and hospice to be able to drop in and find us,” she said. “I would encourage anyone who is thinking about services, whether it is home care, hospice or medical equipment to give us a call and stop in and have a conversation about it. We really try hard to connect to as many people as we possibly can.”

The three main components of UnityPoint at Home often collaborate to meet diverse patient needs. That’s why being housed in one building will make their work easier, Crimmins said.

“We’ll all be right there,” she said. “So, our interdisciplinary team will have more access to each other and be able to respond quicker to patient needs.”

Crimmins said coordinating the care provided in various settings is a major focus of UnityPoint at Home and distinguishes it from some other organizations that may provide similar services.

“I think it really truly is the care coordination that we can provide being partners with the clinic and the hospital,” she said. “We really work hard to make sure that transitions between levels of care are seamless for the patient. We do all the work behind the scenes to make sure that we know what the needs are. That goes for our long-term care partnerships, as well. We really work to build those. Hopefully, transitions are seamless for patients going from the hospital to skilled nursing, from skilled nursing to home. Whatever levels of care that they are in, we want to be a part of that transition.”

There is strong evidence that the approach being undertaken by UnityPoint at Home is producing beneficial results for patients. It’s Fort Dodge and Storm Lake agencies just received a coveted national distinction from the Centers for Medical and Medicaid Services. They were the only two entities of this type in the Hawkeye State to earn the highest ranking CMS awards for quality of care – its Five Star rating.

According the CMS, its ranking system offers a comprehensive overview of home health care quality. It was developed to make it easier for members of the public to compare home health care agencies.

The rating system makes use of nine process and outcome quality measures to assess just how good the care is at each of the nation’s home health care agencies. Only a handful of them achieve the Five Star ranking UnityPoint at Home in Fort Dodge has earned.

“Achieving a five-star quality rating from CMS is a testament to our team’s efforts to design and implement a personalized plan of care that addresses the specific needs and goals of every individual,” said Mag VanOosten, RN, UnityPoint at Home chief clinical officer. “Our exceptional quality of care and patient safety measures are the result each team member’s dedication to training, communication and delivering the best possible outcomes for our patients.”

Crimmins said she and her Fort Dodge colleagues take great pride in this rating accomplishment and are committed to continued excellence in the care they provide.

“We always are striving for the highest quality that we can have along with the best patient satisfaction, as well,” she said. “Our team works really, really hard to make sure that we have great quality of care.”

Across the nation, the way health care is being delivered is undergoing rapid change. A greater emphasis on outpatient services is a big part of that transformation. Crimmins said the work her team undertakes is at the forefront of that transition.

“The industry trend is to support more outpatient services for patients – getting the right level of care at the right time,” she said. “I think UnityPoint at Home is a key in that strategy for the health care industry, but certainly for UnityPoint overall. … We are just keeping people independent and safe and happy in their homes as long as we possibly can.”

About UnityPoint at Home — Fort Dodge

UnityPoint at Home provides home health care services in communities in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. It is part of UnityPoint Health, one of the nation’s largest non-denominational health systems. UnityPoint at Home – Fort Dodge provides options for people who live within about a 50-mile radius of Fort Dodge.

“We serve all of Webster, Humboldt, Calhoun, Wright and Hamilton counties as well as partial counties,” Crimmins said.

To help people understand how extensive the work her agency handles truly is, Crimmins shared some recent data.

“Through home care we did 14,149 skilled nursing visits in 2016,” she said. “We admitted 411 patients to hospice, not including the Paula Baber Hospice Home. The UnityPoint at Home retail store locations had 2,446 new home medical equipment orders in 2016. The UnityPoint at Home warehouse location serves over 170 nursing facilities in Iowa and Nebraska and shipped out 17,972 packages in 2016.”

While much of the agency’s workforce will be based at the new site, UnityPoint at Home will have two additional Fort Dodge locations.

UnityPoint at Home services that will be operated out of the new headquarters include home nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, respiratory therapy, infusion therapy, home hospice care and home medical equipment. The Paula J Baber Hospice Home and the Home Medical Equipment Store at Trinity Regional Medical Center will remain in their current locations.

“We’ll also have a couple of key team members (at the main campus Home Medical Equipment Store) who can answer questions for patients or families who are at the hospital or the clinic about home care about home care or hospice,” Crimmins said.